Unveiling The Interior Design Of Rosewood Munich By Tara Bernerd & Partners

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Born from the union of two lovingly restored landmark buildings – the former State Bank of Bavaria headquarters and the Palais Neuhaus-Preysing aristocratic residence – Hong Kong’s five-star Rosewood Munich hotel in the heart of the Bavarian capital embodies a harmonious fusion of historic elegance and contemporary sophistication. Brought into the 21st century thanks to the collective efforts of Hilmer Sattler Architekten Ahlers Albrecht, London-based Tara Bernerd & Partners and DiPPOLD, the hotel features 73 guestrooms, 59 suites and five specialty suites known as “houses”, an Alpine-themed brasserie, a jazz bar, two indoor courtyards, a swimming pool and a spa. The design narrative celebrates the city’s rich cultural heritage through a palette of sumptuous textures, bespoke furnishings and carefully curated artworks by the likes of Olaf Hajek, Michael Mann and Rosanna Merklin. Designer Tara Bernerd explains how she created an ambiance that exudes warmth and exclusivity, setting the stage for an exceptional hospitality experience in Munich.

Describe your design language and philosophy, your sources of inspiration and what makes your approach unique. How has your approach shaped the interiors that you created for the Rosewood Munich?

I would describe our design language as timeless; indigenous, speaking to the local vernacular; authentic and handsome. For Rosewood Munich, we spent a long time researching the area and its culture, studying the local materials and existing architecture. We have sought to combine the two diverse characters of old and new Munich, through the use of form and materiality, interweaving contemporary shapes with more traditional fabrics. Our approach throughout the hotel has been to bring a refined residential style, a mix of eclectic furniture, with handsome, bold palettes and rich materials, applied in sometimes surprising ways, to achieve a feeling of understated luxury and simplistic elegance.

What was your brief and the most important consideration when you first started designing the hotel, and the overarching main idea you tried to achieve?

Our brief was to bring Rosewood to Munich, creating a sense of place in the heart of the old town with an elevated contemporary luxury.

Describe to me your creative process from the time the hotel commissioned you to the final design. How did you help them to define the design esthetic and give the property a sense of place?

We tend to take a very holistic design approach to each of our projects, envisaging the key elements of a design from our first brainstorming meeting. Our design philosophy is very layered, taking into account many different influences, and we try to ensure that each project we undertake is indigenous to the surrounding environment. We therefore find each one has its own unique identity. We also ensure a character, or what we refer to as a “DNA”, for each project that is embedded at the earliest stages. Throughout the project, we constantly referred back to this original concept to ensure that we remained true to the design.

How did you transform the building from a bank and a grand aristocratic residence to a five-star Munich hotel?

I tend to view many of our hotels like my own home in Munich’s old town, albeit a rather grand one, so this immediately brings a sense of home from home to the building. It is important for hotels to remain authentic to their heritage, so when modernizing, it is key to stay true to that history, whilst adapting to suit a contemporary lifestyle. The design itself should feel genuine, without veering towards mere pastiche.

Tell me about the materials, furniture, lighting, artworks and color schemes you incorporated.

We have sought to place the hotel firmly within the city of Munich. The city has a rich history, which contrasts dramatically with its contemporary architecture. The reception lobby immediately brings a sense of arrival. As one of the original parts of the building that has survived, it is evocative of the grand entrance hall of a great house. The entrance connects seamlessly to the new main lobby, which introduces contemporary interpretations of classic features such as dramatic stone walls and textured recessed coves to the high ceilings. The high windows, which open onto the courtyard, have been framed in marble. Full-height, rich, dark timber shelving sits between the windows, bringing a stately residential feel to the space. The palette is a mix of navy blues, gray velvets, fawn tweeds and tan leathers, which contrast beautifully with the mid-toned woods and grey marbles. For the Wintergarden, we took inspiration from local Munich architecture from the first half of the 20th century for the double-sided fireplace. This has been constructed in stone with an ever-receding setback to the surround itself.

Our designs for the guestrooms are very layered to emphasize that feeling of being in your own private residence in the heart of Munich’s old town, with a welcoming, understated opulence. Whilst there is a great deal of variation between the rooms, necessitated by the shape of the original façade, all rooms are generous in size, with a separate sofa and seating area like a junior suite. The furniture in the room has been designed to emphasize this feeling of a home away from home. In the suites, a joinery dividing bookcase subtly partitions off part of the room, with a mix of wood, glass and lacquered green painted fins, dressed with a selection of books and objets d’art.

The spa is evocative of the vaulted basement areas common in Bavarian castles. With columns and lit vaulted ceilings, the pool area ceiling was inspired in part by the traditional bathhouses in Munich such as the Müller’sches Volksbad. Intimate quiet zones have been created, with all spaces connecting to the pool. Polished plaster niches and lit fitted joinery have allowed for the space to be dressed with selected artworks and objects throughout.

Which is your favorite room in the hotel and why?

Each of the suites is different with its own special character, and of these, the King Maximilian I House is probably my favorite. It’s a magnificent suite that has been designed to feel like a chic Munich penthouse apartment. The variety of living spaces, including a full kitchen, have taken inspiration from Munich Modern. The layout of the rooms is very dramatic with a high ceiling and sloping walls, following the line of the roof. A large central double-sided fireplace brings a real sense of drama. Throughout, we have used a sumptuous mix of stones and woods in an elegant palette of loden greens, grays and rich brown tones, with splashes of warm yellows.

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